Exercises > Popular Programs > Leg Exercises
The following leg exercises are designed to improve the strength of the muscles of the legs. You should discuss the suitability of these leg exercises with your Physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain. Begin with the Basic Leg Exercises. Once these are too easy, progress to the Advanced Leg Exercises.
Basic Leg Exercises
The following Basic Leg Exercises should generally be performed 1 – 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, number of sets or resistance of the leg exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Swiss Ball Squats
Begin this leg exercise in standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your feet facing forwards and a Swiss Ball placed between a wall and your back (figure 1). Slowly perform a squat, keeping your back straight. Your knees should be in line with your middle toes and should not move forward past your toes. Then slowly return to the starting position maintaining good posture throughout the exercise. Perform 1 – 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 1 – Swiss Ball Squats
Begin this leg exercise standing with your back straight in the position demonstrated (figure 2). Slowly lower your body until your front knee is at a right angle. Keep your front knee in line with your middle toe and your feet facing forward. Then slowly return to the starting position maintaining good posture throughout the exercise. Perform 1 – 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 2 – Lunges
Hip Abduction Sidelying
Begin this leg exercise lying on your side in the position demonstrated (figure 3). Keeping your back and knee straight and foot facing forwards, slowly take your leg upwards tightening the muscles at the side of your thigh / hip (abductors). Hold for 2 seconds and then return to the starting position. Perform 1 – 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg provided the exercise is pain free. This exercise can be progressed by adding an ankle weight to your ankle for increased resistance.
Figure 3 – Hip Abduction Sidelying (right leg)
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